Revelry and Reflection (Mostly Revelry) Keep Convention Rockin’
The 98th Annual Indiana District Convention was touted as a time to celebrate. It lived up to its billing. More than 200 Hoosier Kiwanians and their guests gathered at the Radisson at Star Plaza in Merrillville recently to renew their commitment to service, reconnect with like-minded servant leaders from throughout the state, and revel in what the district has accomplished this year. And boy, did they revel!
Here’s a recap:
Rockin’ for Riley really rocks. The annual district gathering got off to a rousing start with Rockin’ for Riley, an event that proved Indiana’s Kiwanians are not faint of heart or lacking in energy. There was music, dancing and hula hooping. There was karaoke and Guitar Hero. For the mostly uninhibited crowd, there was a boisterous game of Simon Says. And for the few not-so-uninhibited souls, there were rocking chairs.
“I really enjoyed the Rockin’ for Riley evening,” says Marge Crouch, coordinator of the Kiwanis Parent Comfort Cart at the Riley Hospital for Children. “It was a kick-back evening with great food and a lot of fun. We had a good time, raised some money and put an important focus on Riley, which is always important to me.”
Indeed, Rockin’ for Riley was a fun way to celebrate the district’s 90-year partnership with Riley Hospital and the 3 Wishes Campaign. Clubs reaching their Make Wishes Come True giving levels were recognized. Riley Honors donors were applauded. And clubs presented their Riley contribution checks to Governor Kris Bowers. In all, the event raised more than $80,000 for the 3 Wishes initiative.
“I’m always overwhelmed by the unselfishness of Indiana Kiwanians,” Governor Kris says. “Their generosity brings us very close to our $250,000 goal for the year. I implore clubs to continue their support for this initiative. Our partnership with Riley is critically important for Hoosier children. Early screening and diagnosis for autism and related disorders is the key to successful intervention and the path to helping all children succeed to their fullest potential.”
A large chunk of the money came from Jim Bare, a Maple City, Goshen Kiwanian. Bare hit the road on his bike for a whirlwind fundraising tour of clubs in the Duneland and Calumet divisions in the days leading up to the convention. In all, he raised more than $3,400.
“It was for the kids,” Bare reported on his Facebook page. “I biked more than 300 miles and had no flat tires! And I got some exercise.”
Foray to the Soiree proves magnifique. The celebratory mood created by Rockin’ for Riley carried over to the following evening’s Soiree, a formal dinner where attendees got a taste of Paris, site of the 2017 Kiwanis International Convention. Governor Kris also gave them a taste of what it takes to keep the district’s service wheels turning in her farewell address.
“Serving as governor is a very personal experience,” Governor Kris said. “Yes, it’s a volunteer leadership position like so many others in our organization, but the position embodies the trust and the faith of members throughout the district. I never took that trust for granted and, whether you believe I was successful or not, I never stopped working to support the efforts of Kiwanis clubs. That’s where the magic happens; that’s where Kiwanis becomes part of our lives.”
Rather than dwell on her achievements, though, the district governor opted to praise the efforts of members and other leaders who stepped up to help move the district forward because “Kiwanis is a part of the fabric of their lives, too.”
“No one leads alone,” the governor said. “Any success we’ve had this year is because many, many Hoosier Kiwanians worked hard, sometimes alone, but mostly together. We all play a role; that’s the only way it works.”
Longtime Kiwanian, child advocate tapped as District Governor. A devoted Kiwanian and child advocate will lead the Indiana District during the upcoming Kiwanis year. David N. Dixon, professor emeritus at Ball State University and member of the Kiwanis Club of Muncie, was elected 2016-17 district governor during the House of Delegates. He will be joined on the leadership team by incoming Governor-elect Steven R. Ingram of the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club. Delegates elected Ingram from among three candidates.
Governor-designate Dixon is known for his passion in serving others through Kiwanis. As a Kiwanian, Dixon has served as club president, chairman of the Muncie Kiwanis Charitable Trust, distinguished lieutenant governor, member of the KIDS (Kiwanis In Direct Support) Committee and the Indiana Foundation board, and, most recently, chairman of the fundraising campaign for the Riley Hospital for Children and 2015-16 governor-elect.
As governor, Dixon will continue current Governor Kris’s focus on helping clubs grow and tailor their activities to meet the particular needs of their communities.
“I became a member of Kiwanis in 1989, primarily because someone asked me to a meeting,” he recalls. “I thought the club would be a good way to learn about and become involved in serving the community. I’ve come to believe it is important for each club and each member to have a way to connect with their community through Kiwanis.”
Providing Dixon behind-the-scenes support will be his wife, Felicia, also a former Kiwanis club president. “This is a good time in our lives to do this,” he says. “We look forward to the opportunity.”
Like Dixon, Ingram is no stranger to Kiwanis service, having served in leadership and supporting roles since joining the organization in 2000. He was a member of the Valparaiso Noon Kiwanis Club’s board of directors before serving as president-elect in 2008-09 and president in 2009-10. He’s also served two terms as lieutenant governor of the Duneland Division and currently serves as the chairman of the Indiana District’s Key Leader program.
“Obviously, one of my major responsibilities will be to help (incoming) Governor Dave achieve his goals,” Ingram says. “I believe a big part of what we’ll be doing is continuing initiatives, such as the I-Plan for Indiana, that Governor Kris has started.”
In other action, delegates approved two amendments to the Indiana District of Kiwanis Bylaws. One of the amendments more clearly defines the duties of the district secretary. It was proposed to resolve conflicts regarding the duties of the district governor, secretary and personnel committee.
The other amendment ensures the continuation of the district’s audit committee. When the new Standard Form for District Bylaws was adopted at the 2015 House of Delegates, it did not contain language ensuring the audit committee would continue as a standard committee under the district structure.